- Course: Main Course
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 13 Times
Dried figs and fennel, both important ingredients in the cooking of the eastern Mediterranean region, are often paired in sweets like candies and cakes, but I take liberty with the combination and pair them in a simple braise of chicken. As they slowly cook, the dried figs absorb the heady chicken and fennel-laced broth, becoming juicy and succulent
- 1 fennel bulb (about 12 ounces)
- 8 ounces dried Calimyrna figs (12 to 14 figs), stems trimmed
- 1 whole chicken (about 3½ pounds), cut into 8 pieces, excess fat and skin trimmed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium or 1 large leek, roots and green tops trimmed, soaked in warm water, rinsed thoroughly, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, bruised with a mortar and pestle or the side of a heavy knife
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup dry white wine
1. Trim the stem end and the dark green tops from the fennel; reserve a few fronds for garnish. Cut the fennel bulb lengthwise into quarters; then cut across into 1-inch pieces. Chill in a bowl of iced water for 20 minutes; drain.
2. Meanwhile, bring a small pan of water to a boil. Place the figs in a small bowl and cover with boiling water; let stand for 10 minutes. Drain, and cut the figs in half
3. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large deep skillet until sizzling. Add the chicken, a few pieces at a time, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes per side. As it browns, transfer the chicken to a side dish. Leave a thin film of oil in the bottom of the pan: discard any remaining oil.
4. Add the fennel, leeks, and carrots to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the figs and fennel seeds to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the cut sides of the figs are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
5. Add the chicken broth and the wine and heat to a boil. Boil, uncovered, over high heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the chicken juices run clear when the flesh is pierced with a fork, about 15 minute.
6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, vegetables, and figs to a warmed serving platter; cover to keep warm. Boil the juices over high heat until reduced and slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the juices over the chicken; garnish with the reserved fennel fronds, and serve.
© 2004 Marie Simmons
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.